When We Find What You Lost
September 26, 2012
I go a little whacko when I lose something; I spend hours looking for it and will even try to engage my entire family in the search. The most recent thing I have misplaced is a stack of papers my sister gave me with information about all of my ancestors. If you know what I did with it, please let me know. I’m pretty sure it’s somewhere in my house, but who knows, I might have taken it somewhere and left it behind. It could be anywhere.
I very rarely lose things at the Library. I’m pretty organized and don’t have the habit of leaving things lying around here. We are all diligent about straightening up, and I know that if I leave something on a table and walk away from it, another staff member or a well-meaning customer will pick it up and bring it to the circulation desk to be placed in our lost and found.
We have a pretty sizeable number of lost and found items. It is easy to understand why some things end up there: a driver’s license or a social security card left on the copier, a flash drive left plugged in to a computer, or a piece of jewelry that broke and fell off the wearer without notice. Other things are more puzzling: like coats, a walking cane, or a pair of prescription glasses. These are items that we have found or others have brought to us; and while we have found them, the person who lost them might not even realize they are lost until days or weeks pass.
In the meantime, we go to work to see if there is any information attached to the item that will indicate who the owner is. If we are able to determine that the owner of the item also has a library account, we will attempt to reach them to let them know we found something that belongs to them. Sadly, we are not able to track down every owner, and sometimes we discover that we don’t have an up-to-date contact number for them. In that case, what we do is wait to see if that person will stop in to describe and claim their lost item.
After 30 days, all unclaimed items are discarded, recycled, shredded, or donated. Unfortunately, we are unable to retain these items for very long due to space. Here are some things you can do to make losing things less of a problem:
- Make sure that your library account is up-to-date with a correct address and a correct phone number.
- Affix labels with your name and phone number to any personal items you are bringing into the Library that could be left behind when you leave.
- If you use a flash drive in the Library, consider an online back-up storage option of dropbox.com or Google Drive, so files won’t be lost if your storage device is.
- Program an "in case of emergency" (ICE) number into your cell phone, which is a person who can be notified if you are hurt or your cell phone is found.
- When making copies, ALWAYS remove the original before leaving the Library.
If you think you may have left something at the Library, be prepared to describe the item in as much detail as possible. If it is was money you lost, we wouldn’t expect you to know serial numbers or where the money was minted; but we would expect you to be able to tell us the correct dollar amount, denomination, and possible location it was found.
Blue Ridge Branch